IVINS — Presidents Day weekend is one of the busiest weekends of the year at Snow Canyon State Park, with most visitors expected to arrive midday Saturday, but there are things visitors can do to help improve their own enjoyment of Southern Utah’s beautiful 7,400-acre park and help reduce overcrowding in the park.
Although the park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., most visitors come between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Therefore, visitors coming between 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. or after 4 p.m. will have easier access and reduce congestion for those coming during peak hours.
The park plans to implement traffic control at both park entrances to ensure visitor and resource safety, a news release from the park stated. Along these lines, a temporary entrance freeze will be put in place when designated parking areas and pullouts are full. Visitors should be prepared for long entrance lines with the possibility of up to an hour wait. Alternatively, the park suggests, visitors can help alleviate the parking congestion by carpooling … or visiting on another date.
Snow Canyon State Park offers inexhaustible resources to explore.
One example is the Hidden Pinyon Trail, a 1.5 mile long nature trail that winds through slick rock canyons and traverses both slick rock and lava rock. It is a relatively mild, family-friendly trail with big payoffs. Although the park’s 60 for ’60 challenge celebrating it’s 60th anniversary last year has come and gone, to learn more about the Hidden Pinyon Trail, read more here: Explore: Take Snow Canyon State Park’s ’60 for 60′ challenge.
Another is the Cinder Cone Trail on the east side of Highway 18, which falls within the boundaries of Snow Canyon State Park. The Cinder Cone Trail provides visitors with an up-close look at the outcome of of a once fiery volcano. Now dormant, visitors ascend over 500 feet in elevation in just 3/4 mile hike around and about the volcano to the top. Read more here: Explore: Earth’s fiery history right beneath your feet; Cinder Cone Trail.
See the Snow Canyon State Park brochure for other trails and information to guide your visit. “Hiking and scrambling are permitted only on designated trails and slickrock,” as noted in the park brochure.
Current weather forecasts for the weekend predict high 50s Friday, low 60s Saturday and Sunday with chance of morning showers Monday. While these temperatures are not as hot as in summertime, it is still important to hike and bike safely. Preparedness can make the difference between an enjoyable and disastrous adventure. Following is a short list of some things to remember:
- Bring plenty of water and food with you, more than you think you will need.
- Tell someone – friends, family – where you plan on going in the park and when you expect to return.
- Dress appropriately – layering is a good idea as weather conditions can change rapidly; wear good hiking shoes with traction.
- When weather takes a turn for the worse, turn back. If it begins to rain, seek shelter as needed to avoid hypothermia from becoming too wet and too cold.
- Know your own limitations, health conditions, abilities, and body’s reaction to extreme heat and other weather conditions.
- Know how to read maps and wayfind using landmarks.
- Stay on marked trails and designated climbing areas.
- Avoid getting too close to ledges where the ground the ground can give way.
- Wear bright clothing that can be easily spotted, not camouflage or muddy colors. Bright blue, bright or fluourescent lime greens and oranges, even reds are more easily spotted by search and rescue teams. A bright handkerchief or scarf is useful to wave at a search team or helicopter.
- Carry a small flashlight, even in daytime a small flashlight can deliver a glint that catch attention.
- Carry a small mirror or anything that will reflect a glint that can catch a helicopter pilot’s eye.
- Carry a whistle – three short blasts is a sign of distress.
- Carry a GPS tracking device; these may operate where cell service will not – if you set a waypoint at the trailhead, even at points along the way, you can follow the device’s arrows to find your way back using the device. Even so, do not rely on a GPS device to keep you from getting lost.
- If you get lost and don’t have cell service, try to find a high point where you can get service and dial 911.
There are many places to explore and enjoy hiking and visiting throughout Southern Utah, whether for a few hours, a day trip or longer.
See more by clicking here: St. George News Explore section.
- Snow Canyon State Park |1002 Snow Canyon Drive, Ivins (8 miles north of St. George on state Route 18) | Telephone 435-628-2255 | Website.